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News & Features » August 2017 » “AN unHAPPY MEAL” by Nkosi Ife Bandele

“AN unHAPPY MEAL” by Nkosi Ife Bandele

Are you a parent going through the Terrible Twos? Did you live through them and survive? Terrible Twosdays is a place to commiserate over the unending shenanigans of your Darling Children (as the online parenting communities say). Nonfiction stories will be considered, so long as names have been changed to protect the guilty. Inspired by our best-selling gift book for parents, Go the Fuck to Sleep, Terrible Twosdays joins the roster of our other online short fiction series. Unlike Mondays Are Murder and Thursdaze, we’re looking for stories with a light and mischievous feel, all about the day-to-day challenges of parenting. As with our other flash fiction series, stories must not exceed 750 words.

This week, Nkosi Ife Bandele’s daughter proves to be bolder than he.

AN unHAPPY MEAL
by Nkosi Ife Bandele
Nine

You got me. I sometimes steal away into McDonald’s with my nine year old, and we share a large fry. (And, well, a small apple juice for her.) When my wife inevitably finds out, she’s not happy about it. You see, we’re strictly a superfoods family. Blueberries in the morning, afternoon almonds, kale all the goddamn time!

When my daughter was younger, her betrayals of me happened by mistake, it would just “slip out,” but now that she’s nine and sanctimonious, she drops a straight dime on me as soon as we get home. “Mom, guess what? Dad took me to McDonald’s, and we had French fries!” (Like most sanctimonious people, my daughter lacks integrity. I mean, she didn’t say a word while she was eating the motherfuckers!)

Yes, I know. McDonald’s is bad for you. We’ve watched them all, “SUPER SIZE ME,” “FOODMATTERS,” “Food, Inc.,” and “FAT, SICK & NEARLY DEAD,” so, yes, I get it, I really do, but that’s not the actual point of the story.

*

It happened during our most recent sojourn to MickyDees. After heavily salting the fries in the bin, and scooping ours into the large, red fry box, our server plucked out the longest one and stood chomping while calling our number. “Crunch. Crackle. 207!”

My daughter and I double-took on each other. Did you . . . just see . . . what . . . I?

“Customer 2-0-7!”

Now I probably would have just accepted the fries, smiled, thanked her even, ate them. No biggie. It was just one fry after all. Maybe our server was hungry. She was a tad plump. (And slovenly I might add.) But I’m a punk. My daughter, the absolute extension of my tough wife, “my little wife,” vigorously shook her head, “I ain’t eatin them!,” before I dared open my mouth.

“2-0-7!”

After swallowing the last bit of our fry, the server got pissed. She knew we were “207.”

We were the only ones standing there. Stupid customers!

I cleared my throat for effect.

“May we have another large fry?”

She immediately misunderstood, and with her free hand mechanically started to ring up an additional large fry.

“No, no, no, no, I’m sorry. I mean, a different one, a different large fry, I mean, one other than the one in your hand.” (The punk/jerk in me was tempted to say, “. . . and other than the one in your stomach!”)

My daughter, who did not get my punk gene, (thank goodness), nodded her head defiantly while looking the server directly in the eye.

After an elongated breath, the server shot us one final “stupid customers!” look before flipping our fries into the trash bin and snatching us up another.

She looked through me as she shoved the fries in my direction.

“Thank, you,” I responded, cringing in embarrassment.

My daughter, though, she was like, “Why she throw ’em away? Why she ain’t just eat ’em?” She said this with a wink and smile and loud enough for the server to hear.

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NKOSI IFE BANDELE‘s novel, The Ape is Dead!, about a black student’s journey toward true love on a politically-charged college campus, is now available from Crimson Cloak Publishing. Excerpts of this work appear in the Crimson Cloak Publishing anthology Love Matters, Akashic’s Terrible Twosdays seriesHobart MagazineCrescendo City Magazine, and the collection of poetry and prose titled It’s Animal but Merciful published by the independent press great weather for MEDIA. Excerpts from Nkosi’s second novel, Scott Free, are featured in Moonshot magazine’s issue #5 and Akashic’s Thursdaze series. He is also the author of a third novel, The Beast, and the Writer’s Digest award–winning screenplay Love is Crazy. Nkosi lives in New York City. He has been published under the pen names Eshu Bandele and skoo d foo, da bom! His website, including his blog THAT N-WORD’S CRAZY!, is eshubandele.com. Visit his Facebook Fan Page here.

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Do you have a story you’d like us to consider for online publication in the Terrible Twosdays flash fiction series? Here are the submission terms and guidelines:

—We are not offering payment, and are asking for first digital rights. The rights to the story revert to the author immediately upon publication.
—Your story should focus on the challenges of parenting. Ideally, stories should be about children aged 0 to 5, but any age (up to early teens) is acceptable. Stories may be fiction or nonfiction.
—Include the child’s age at the time of the story next to your byline.
—Your story should not exceed 750 words.
—E-mail your submission to info@akashicbooks.com. Please paste the story into the body of the email, and also attach it as a PDF file.

Posted: Aug 22, 2017

Category: Terrible Twosdays | Tags: , , , , , ,



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